Career Transitions Forum

The Career Transitions Forum (CTF) is a unique series of lectures, presentations, and networking activities designed to support professionals who are transitioning in their careers.

Professionals from recruitment firms, corporations, and the local community will present a broad array of job search strategies and tips, with a different topic presented each week. New participants can join any week.  

Free Career Advising

Career Advising is available from our prestigious team of business executives for those who have attended at least one CTF session and preferably who have completed an HRD resume class. 

To schedule an appointment, submit the CTF Career Advising Request form, which is available at CTF meetings on Thursdays from 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM at Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Here are details on our current panel of advisors:

Al Rankin: has been involved as a leader and/or advisor of CTF and its predecessors since 2008. Over a long career, he headed corporate communications for Marriott International and 3 other NYSE companies in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas. His experience ranges from branding and media relations to stakeholder and crisis communications, including speechwriting and non-profit development. In 2016, he joined Fonville Morisey Realty as a Realtor. He holds B.J. and M.A. degrees from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Peter Large: Peter has been working with Career Transitions since 2012 assisting people with resume reviews, networking strategies, and interview preparation. Peter is a retired IBM Project Executive, where he held various sales and sales management positions prior to serving as Practice Leader for a software integration services business focused on the retail sector. Peter has expertise in business management, customer relationships and project management. He has a BS degree in Engineering from the University of Toronto.

Joy Hodge: a thought leader in career and talent management, with over 20 years’ experience designing innovative strategies, products and solutions to boost the effectiveness of leaders, managers, employees, and organizations. Joy directly impacted business results, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement and retention at Fidelity Investments and GlaxoSmithKline, and gained deep experience in managing HRD product development teams at Global Knowledge. She has advanced degrees in Adult Education and Learning and Development from NC State University.

Prashant Pandya: is a Senior Financial Advisor and Certified Financial Planner who helps guide individuals, families, trusts, and business owners towards achieving their financial goals and dreams. Areas of expertise include investments, taxes, retirement, insurance and estate planning. Prashant is also a Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor who can assist with 401K retirement plans and a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor. Prior to working in financial services, Prashant worked with IBM in various hardware and software architecture, consulting and management roles.

Lara Gardner: is Technical Group Recruiting Manager at BB&T and served in a similar role at IBM. She manages a team of 4-6 technical recruiters and has direct experience with recruiting and hiring, as well as setting recruiting strategies and serving as the executive recruiter for senior technical leadership positions within BB&T.

Claire Boland: Claire has held numerous HR leadership roles at both small and large fortune 500 companies within banking, life sciences, and manufacturing arenas. She has worked extensively in talent identification and employee development to help develop employee strengths, skill gaps, and development opportunities. Currently, she splits her time between HR consulting with global companies and with Right Management, where she works with candidates in transition.

Rachel Cox: Rachel cultivates and develops people, helping them leverage their strengths through training and coaching. For the past 6 years, she has been a Coach with The Entrepreneur's Source and volunteers with Dress for Success, the Better Business Bureau, and American Corporate Partnership. She comes from the hospitality and event planning industry. During her career, she rebranded 2 hotels to improve market share. she was a Regional Director over 13 markets across the nation and a General Manager for 9 years, orchestrating $5M budgets. She has launched 2 startups - a vending model and a web-based model. She also created a women's networking group called "Women in the Workforce."

Olivia Ecker: Olivia is the Director, Talent Acquisition & Employee Experience at HZO, Inc. and has professional experience in the biopharmaceutical, financial services, and technology industries. Olivia is passionate about the 4 phases of “The Employee Experience” including candidates, new hires, employees and alumni in full support of a “people first” HR Strategy. Recently, she experienced her own career transition and is dedicating her time outside of work to helping others who are experiencing career transitions of their own. Olivia relocated to North Carolina in 2018 and is also volunteering with Raleigh SHRM, Dress for Success NC, and the Raleigh Rescue Mission. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications & Political Science from Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. 

Schedule of Events

Aug 29 | Carmen White | Getting to the “Yes!” by Mastering the Interview

Come join Carmen White for an informative session on Interviewing to get to the “Yes!” The interview is your time to shine and show potential employers why you should be their number 1 choice. It is imperative to be able to adequately translate your skills and the interview is your final step in doing so.

Carmen is the North Carolina Area Manager for Hire Heroes USA, a veteran service organization that works with military members, veterans and spouses during their transition from the military. Carmen is a veteran of the United States Air Force. She spent 6 years as a Personnel Officer, has worked as a Human Resources Specialist for the US Office of Personnel Management, and currently owns a Human Resources consulting firm.

Sept 5 |  NO CLASS 

There will be no CTF class on this date.

Sept 12 | Marie Morgan Gowdy | How to Research & Prepare for a Great Interview!

Showing up fully prepared can make all the difference to the interview. Marie Morgan-Gowdy will explain to us why, how, where and what to research before your next interview. Effective research and preparation can help build your confidence and ensure you make a great first impression. At the end of the session, Marie will provide valuable links to resources to assist you in the research process.

Marie Morgan-Gowdy is a licensed teacher, college professor, trainer and mentor. She holds an MBA from Fordham University in Marketing and an MA from North Carolina Central in Educational/Instructional Technology. Her passion lies in creating learning and training materials that are, engaging, meaningful and memorable.

Sept 19 | Josh Stubbolo | Strategies for Identifying Target Companies

One of the key strategies in job search effectiveness is knowing how to proactively identify and establish contacts inside a targeted list of companies that offer the best potential for meeting your career goals. Josh Stubbolo will help guide us through this process on CTF's November 8th meeting.

Josh is the founder of Triangle Tech Net, another Raleigh area networking group that meets weekly, helping Triangle professional network, make contacts, and expand their social circle - and find potential job prospects in the process. Josh is Managing Partner of Family Legacy Solutions, a wealth management company. He is a Registered Representative offering Securities through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc.

Sept 26 | Yesenia Craft | Master the Art of Resume Writing

Résumés are composed of more than just words on paper – there is art behind their creation! They should be sculpted with your skills and painted from your experience, then framed with alignment to job descriptions. That way, they can get through Applicant Tracking Systems and into the hands of decision-makers.

Yesenia Craft is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Career Transition Specialist for Hire Heroes, a non-profit organization that assists veterans transitioning to the civilian workplace. Yesenia has helped over 683 personnel get hired in the last 5 years, and her insights are invaluable. She is a Marine Corps Veteran herself, passionate about sharing her knowledge to help others succeed.

Oct 3 | Deb Oronzio | Develop Your Ideal Career Vision

Come join us when Career Strategist Deb Oronzio offers her insights to help professionals in career transition develop their ideal career vision and carve out the path that will take them there. Deb is the founder of Self-Empower Coaching, a consulting company that guides motivated professionals in managing their careers like entrepreneurs with vision and passion. A graduate of John Hopkins University,

Deb once served as a Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Tech. She also held a role as VP Business Development & Marketing for PPD, a leading clinical research organization. Deb is a published author, having written "Creating Your Career Vision", for those who are interested in exploring new and meaningful career moves.

Oct 10 | Elizabeth Perry | Simplify Your Spending and Saving Strategies

Join us for an informative session that encourages developing a budget, identifying financial goals, understanding the balance between spending, saving and borrowing and having a strategy.

Elizabeth is a local Financial Advisor with Edward Jones. Last year, after 15 years in Corporate Finance, she decided to make a career switch that would allow her to work closely with individuals, families and business owners to help them achieve their financial goals.

Oct 17 | Joy Hodge | Is Your Job Search Strategy Working?

Recruiting practices and hiring philosophies are constantly changing, particularly in larger companies and competitive industries. In this session, we will focus on creating and executing effective job search strategies – with an emphasis on the benefits for the “mature professional”. You’ll gain ideas on how to emphasize the right things and minimize others, update your brand, and prepare for interviews.

Joy Hodge is a thought leader in Human Resource Development (HRD) and talent management, with over 20 years’ experience in designing innovative strategies, products and solutions to boost the effectiveness of leaders, managers, employees and organizations. Joy directly impacted business results, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement and retention at Fidelity Investments and GlaxoSmithKline, and gained deep experience in managing HRD product development teams at Global Knowledge. She has advanced degrees in Adult Education and Learning and Development from NC State University.

Trinity Baptist Church - Fellowship Hall
4815 Six Forks Rd, Raleigh, NC
Directions to Church
Church Campus Map

Day & Time:
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Arrive early and stay after for valuable informal networking!

CTF LinkedIn Group
This is a moderated group. Professionals must attend one or more CTF sessions to join.

Enhance Your Resume, Market yourself, Explore A New Career

HRD (Human Resources Development) courses provide assistance for adults who are trying to find employment, transitioning back into the workforce, or working to redefine their professional niche in today's global market. HRD offers many relevant classes that will help equip you for success in your job search. 

What our students are saying...

I have accepted an offer from Cisco as a Marketing Manager in their Enterprise Networking group. You can say that “networking” will be my job and not only a means for career advancement!
I am really thankful to you and other leaders and participants of Career Transition Forum group for their tremendous support, encouragement, willingness to help, opening rolodex’s, and insights into the modern hiring process. I truly learned from the wonderful speakers you invited, and from others’ experiences.
I am happy to extend help to anyone in the group to the extent I can.
- Vivek B., CTF Alumni

Today, I landed a permanent position at IAT Insurance as a Technical Project Manager/Process & Change Manager.  I am really excited!  It's truly a dream job for me where I will use all of my certifications. I could not have done it without your support and advice! Especially these 2 simple steps that REALLY made me a stand-out candidate:

  1. Networked with employed people in my field (which led to a friendship with an IAT IT staff member --> which led to my sincere interest in IAT --> which led to a referral!)
  2. Shared stories about specific technical projects I managed that are directly related to projects that IAT is planning to undertake now. 

- Elizabeth R., CTF Alumni

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